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Why you should filter your tap water, according to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Updated: Apr 13

I earn from qualifying purchases a commission on some links in this article. I only recommend products from companies that meet high quality standards that I have thoroughly researched or personally use.





Drinking water is essential for many reasons as it plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to drink clean water:


1. Hydration: Water is vital for maintaining proper hydration levels in the body. Staying hydrated is essential for various bodily functions, including temperature regulation, nutrient transport, and joint lubrication.


2. Waste Removal: Water helps flush out waste products and toxins from the body through urine and sweat. It aids in the proper functioning of the kidneys and supports the detoxification process. What if your water is just adding contaminants and toxins into your body though?


3. Digestion: Water is essential for breaking down food and facilitating the absorption of nutrients in the digestive system. It helps maintain healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation.


4. Joint Health: Water acts as a lubricant for joints, helping to reduce friction and prevent joint pain and discomfort.


5. Temperature Regulation: Drinking water helps regulate body temperature by facilitating sweating, which cools the body during physical activity or in hot environments.


6. Cognitive Function: Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining cognitive function and focus. Dehydration can lead to reduced concentration, fatigue, and impaired mental performance.


7. Skin Health: Staying hydrated can improve skin health by keeping it moisturized and reducing the risk of dryness and skin disorders.


8. Energy Levels: Dehydration can lead to fatigue and reduced energy levels. Drinking enough water helps maintain energy and vitality throughout the day.


9. Heart Health: Adequate hydration supports cardiovascular health by helping the heart pump blood more efficiently.


Overall, drinking water is vital for maintaining the proper functioning of various bodily systems, promoting good health, and preventing dehydration-related issues. It is essential to drink enough water daily to support these physiological processes and maintain optimal well-being. Drinking water that is pure and free from contaminants is one of the most important things we can do for our health!


We are very fortunate to have water that is cleaner than many countries but there are also some major issues. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is a federal law in the United States that was passed in 1974 and amended in 1986 and 1996. Its primary purpose is to ensure that public water supplies are safe for consumption. The act sets regulations for drinking water quality standards, establishes requirements for water treatment, and mandates regular monitoring and reporting of water quality data. It is enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health by safeguarding the quality of drinking water sources and distribution systems. There have been thousands of chemicals released into our environment, however, since this time that municipalities are not required to remove. The Safe Drinking Water Act only requires the EPA to periodically decide whether or not to regulate at least five contaminants on a Contaminant Candidate List.


So what happens if we consume things that should not be ingested into our body?


Let’s start with the liver’s role.


The liver is the primary organ responsible for detoxification in the human body. It plays a crucial role in processing and eliminating toxins, drugs, and harmful substances from the bloodstream. The process of detoxification in the liver involves several phases:


1. Phase I Metabolism: During this phase, enzymes in the liver break down toxins and convert them into intermediate metabolites. These metabolites are often more reactive and potentially harmful than the original toxins.


2. Phase II Metabolism: In this phase, the liver further processes the intermediate metabolites produced in Phase I. It conjugates these metabolites with molecules like glucuronic acid, sulfate, or glutathione, making them more water-soluble and less toxic.


3. Bile Production: The liver produces bile, which contains the conjugated toxins and waste products. Bile is then stored in the gallbladder and released into the small intestine to aid in digestion and the elimination of waste products from the body.


4. Excretion: After the toxins have been processed and made water-soluble, they are excreted from the body through urine or feces.


The liver's detoxification process is essential for maintaining the body's internal balance and protecting it from the harmful effects of various substances. It also plays a crucial role in metabolizing medications and drugs, making them easier to eliminate from the body. Proper liver function is vital for overall health, as it helps protect the body from the harmful effects of environmental toxins and other harmful substances.

Another major organ that is involved in detoxification is the kidneys.

The kidneys are vital organs in the human body that perform several crucial functions to maintain overall health and homeostasis. One of the primary roles is filtration of blood. The kidneys filter waste products, toxins, and excess substances, such as water, electrolytes, and nutrients, from the blood to form urine.


Overall, the kidneys play a vital role in maintaining the body's internal environment and ensuring proper physiological functioning. They are essential for removing waste, regulating water and electrolyte balance, and contributing to various hormonal processes that impact overall health.


If we are consuming food or drink with contaminants we are just adding a tremendous burden to our liver and kidneys! Let a water filter reduce your body burden instead and protect your health. You can drink purified water and flush away waste products without adding additional contaminants.

Example of sediment from my own bathroom sink. I keep a point of use filter
on the sink for this reason. This could be coming from my home’s pipes or the
main line. I live in an area that is known for high quality water.

Actual filters from a house in Cary, NC after 3 months

Water can contain various contaminants, both naturally occurring and man-made, which can affect its quality and safety for consumption. Some common contaminants found in water include:


1. Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can contaminate water and cause waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, and gastrointestinal infections.


2. Chemicals: Industrial and agricultural activities can introduce harmful chemicals into water sources. Examples include pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals (e.g., lead, mercury), and industrial solvents.


3. Nitrates and Nitrites: These compounds can leach into water from fertilizers and sewage, posing health risks, especially for infants and pregnant women.


4. Pharmaceuticals: Traces of pharmaceutical drugs can be found in water supplies due to improper disposal or excretion.


5. Sediments: Soil erosion and runoffs can lead to sediments entering water bodies, causing turbidity and potentially carrying other contaminants.


6. Radionuclides: Naturally occurring radioactive elements like radon can contaminate groundwater.


7. Organic Compounds: Chemicals from industrial waste or natural sources, such as algae blooms, can release organic compounds that affect water quality.


8. Disinfection By-products (DBPs): Chlorine and other disinfectants used to treat water can react with organic matter and create DBPs, which may have health implications.


9. Heavy Metals: Industrial discharges and natural deposits can lead to the presence of heavy metals in water, which can be harmful when consumed in high amounts.


And finally:


10. PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals can be found in water sources. PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that have been widely used in various industrial and consumer products due to their water and oil-resistant properties. They have been used in products like non-stick cookware, water-resistant clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foam.


One of the significant concerns with PFAS chemicals is their persistence in the environment. They do not break down easily and can accumulate over time. As a result, they have been detected in water sources, including groundwater and surface water, near industrial sites, military bases, and areas where firefighting foams have been used.


PFAS chemicals are of concern because some studies have linked them to potential adverse health effects that include:

  • Increased cholesterol levels

  • Decreased vaccine response in children

  • Changes in liver enzymes

  • Increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

  • Small decreases in infant birth weights

  • Increased risk of kidney cancer or testicular cancer

  • Thyroid disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

If you haven’t seen the movie “Dark Waters”, I would highly recommend it. It is based on a true story and it will put much of this into context.


The documentary “The Devil We Know” is also eye opening based off of the same story of DuPont and the impact it had on the water and the health of many in an area of West Virginia.


PFAS chemicals have been in the news a lot lately because 3M has agreed to a 10.3 billion dollar settlement over 13 years to resolve issues with contaminated drinking water. Chemours, DuPont and Corteva have also had settlements. This will be a very long and tedious process with continued litigation.


It is essential to reduce the risk of exposure to all of these contaminants. You need to take care of your health now. Public water treatment facilities and individual water purification systems can help remove or minimize these harmful substances to provide safe drinking water for communities and individuals.


If you want to take a look at the water in your area, utilize the Environmental Working Group (EWG) water database to see some chemicals of concern.


What are the options for filtering your water? Reverse Osmosis is one of the best ways.


Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification process that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants, particles, and dissolved substances from water. It works by applying pressure to push water through the membrane, allowing only water molecules to pass through while blocking the larger molecules and impurities. This results in producing clean, purified water. Reverse osmosis will take out most chemicals of concern including lead, arsenic, PFAS and microplastics, chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, drug residue, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and more. You can use this water for drinking, cooking and washing fruits and vegetables.


Home Master Systems is a very highly rated brand. Please note that the system you may need will vary depending on whether you have city or well water. This is the model for city water. The company has a great customer service line and they can answer any of your questions, 1-877-693-7873.


The units are easy to install but many people utilize the services of a plumber or handyman. Reverse osmosis systems do use water while making purified water so it is recommended to purchase this model which has a permeate pump upgrade to lower the amount of water used. The filters will come with the system and will last one year. This system will add back in a small amount of calcium and magnesium for even better taste and enjoyment.


Home Master has a large variety of other product options as well. You can add features such as a refrigerator line.


If you prefer a countertop reverse osmosis system, Aqua Tru is a brand that you will enjoy. I have also used this product myself while renting. It does require manually filling the container to be filtered.


If a pitcher system is a better option, I recommend the Clearly Filtered Pitcher. This is a great option for college students. Many pitcher systems take out very little. I wouldn’t waste money on filters that are not going to take out many contaminants.


(However, pitcher filters have a short lifespan and must be changed every three or four weeks in order to be effective against PFAS. It is extremely important to change them when their lifetime is up. The pitcher has a lifespan of 100 gallons.)


They also make a water bottle that also filters many chemicals of concern.


I also like the Life Straw Brand. They offer a pitcher system as well as water bottle options. I always encourage food grade stainless steel. They are a Certified B Corporation and also have a tremendous give back program where they provide water purification equipment to schools in areas that are without safe water.


Why not just buy bottled water? Many of the chemicals in plastic water bottles are endocrine disruptors. These chemicals mimic and interfere with the way our hormones work. There are times when someone may not have an option but avoiding plastic bottles and the impact they have on health and our environment should be a priority. You will also save a lot of money filtering your own water.


An alternative would be to buy glass gallon jugs and fill them up with reverse osmosis at your local health food store.Refilling a plastic gallon jug with filtered water would also be a viable option. Refills usually run about 49 cents.


Again, many people spend so much time focusing on eating the right foods. Drinking the absolute cleanest water is equally important to promote good health and to prevent disease. Stay hydrated!






Jana Davis MS,RDN, CDCES is a functional registered dietitian nutritionist in private practice.
www.carolinagreenliving.com



References:



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